Wherever you are in your life, Somebody I Used to Know will wrench you from it and plant you firmly back in your adolescent years – of underage drinking, secret smoking and lost friendships. But what ties it to the now is its focus on Facebook, forcing us to consider the way social networking has changed the way we relate to others forever.
Why do we share so much of ourselves online? Is it healthy? Or are we just all desperately lonely? Somebody I Used to Know by Everything I Own won’t answer these questions, but it will make you think about them.
Claire Gaydon is fearless as she takes us through this one-on-one experience, telling the story of her teenage years, sharing sweets and rum, and asking questions like, “Do you like Nerdz?” with utmost earnest. Carefully crafted, we learn of how Claire and her best friend Andrew grow from awkward to inseparable and back again, in a cycle that many can relate to.
This multimedia piece is well thought-out: the pop-up venue (designed and built by Everything I Own) is plastered with posters, littered with DVDs and childhood relics like Twister and X-Box controllers. The audiovisual effects tie in beautifully with the story, as if we didn’t need reminding of those crazy teenage parties in parents’ houses we attended all that time ago.
Immersive theatre has seized the art world and Somebody I Used to Know well and truly tears down the already crumbling fourth wall. Though it is jarring at first, don’t be put off by the thought of a one-to-one show: at 20 minutes the piece is perfectly timed so as not to be too exhausting and Gaydon has an incredibly warm and reassuring presence.
Intimate, thought-provoking and down-to-earth, Somebody I Used to Know is a unique experience and a definite must-see.
Somebody I Used to Know plays at Assembly Roxy until 25 August as part of the Edinburgh Fringe. For more information and tickets, visit the EdFringe website.